By Gabe Licht, Editor
Delano-area residents will kick off the Christmas season with the Christmas tree lighting Friday and Old-Fashioned Christmas Saturday.
Christmas tree lighting
The Christmas tree lighting will take place at 7 p.m. Friday in Delano’s Riverfront Park (intersection of Bridge Avenue and River Street).
The Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Development Committee coordinates the event, which is celebrating its 10th year of kicking off the Christmas season in Delano. The event began as a way to bring the community together while promoting the downtown and what it has to offer, and the idea of a tree-lighting ceremony stems from what several larger cities have done.
The event is one way to showcase the newly established Riverfront Park, which was created in conjunction with the floodwall project.
This year’s event will feature the ceremonial tree lighting, the arrival of Santa Claus in Delano, horse-drawn carriage rides, and more. Sponsors of the horse-drawn carriage rides this year are Matter Reuter CPAs and Anchor Plastics.
“This year, the horse-drawn carriage will make stops at Lupine Brewing Co., South Fork Brewing Co., and Bonde Bistro, upon request,” said DACC Executive Director Ryan Gueningsman.
Downtown businesses will be open for patrons.
The Delano Royalty Organization will be on-hand to meet and greet people. A local pastor and Delano Mayor Dale Graunke will both share a few words leading up to the lighting of the tree.
Those attending are asked to bring a new or gently-used clean blanket or coat for Love INC-Heartland. Collection boxes for gently-used clean blankets and coats are at the following businesses for drop-off prior to the event: Brandt Companies, Sil-Pro, Landscape Structures, Arctic Fox, Industrial Louvers, Solar Plastics, Randy’s Environmental Services, Easiway Systems, Art-o-Graph, Modern Molding, and the DACC office.
“The DACC always appreciates the support for Love INC-Heartland at this event, as we have had truckloads of coats and blankets that have been delivered to Love INC-Heartland in past years,” Gueningsman said. “We hope to surpass our expectations this year, and really encourage people to drop off coats or blankets at our collection points if unable to attend the actual tree lighting.”
For more information on the Delano Christmas Tree lighting, visit www.delanochamber.com and “like” the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce page or the “Delano Christmas Tree Lightin Ceremony” page on Facebook for more real-time updates.
New activities are in store for visitors to Old-Fashioned Christmas in downtown Delano Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Delano Area Council for Arts and Culture is sponsoring the eighth annual holiday event, and the fun does not end at 3 p.m.
An old-fashioned feast will be served at Bonde Bistro at 5:30 p.m. The prix fixe three-course dinner includes salad, short ribs, and a dessert of crème brulee. Tickets for the meal are $25, drinks and tip not included.
Members of the Arts Council have tickets for sale. For more information, call (763) 226-1799. Tickets for the meal will be honored all evening, but tickets must be purchased ahead of time, as no tickets will be sold at the restaurant. Tickets will be sold at the city hall information desk during Old-Fashioned Christmas festivities.
Noel Pub Crawl
Local bluegrass/gospel group, Singleton Street will provide dinner music and start the caroling for the Noel Pub Crawl beginning at 7 p.m. at Bonde Bistro.
The Pub Crawl will visit five downtown destinations, and caroling will take place at every stop.
Bring your singing voice and your hats, gloves, and scarves to bundle up as you walk between the pubs.
Another new activity for families visiting Old-Fashioned Christmas is the holiday character costume parade.
Judging in five categories will start at 2 p.m. at the fire station, with the parade led by Santa on a fire truck at 2:30 p.m.
Prizes will be awarded for best costumes; children 12 and under, family or other group, senior 60+, holiday character, and old-fashioned vintage/Victorian.
Festive music has always been a part of Old-Fashioned Christmas. The day starts in the Delano Senior Center at 10 a.m., as the senior choir offers a musical hometown Christmas.
The Delano High School vocal ensemble, Sound Revolution will begin its holiday music at 10:45 a.m. If weather permits, they may sing outdoors or at other locations downtown.
The Delano United Methodist Church choir will be in the Delano Senior Center at 11:30 a.m., and the Delano Guitar Club will entertain for an hour beginning at 12:15 p.m.
At 1:30 p.m., the choir from St. Maximilian Kolbe School will be on stage.
A number of instrumental ensembles from Delano High School will be playing holiday music in other buildings downtown.
The locations will be noted on the schedule for the day.
During an ornament-making craft project at the Delano Public Library, musician and singer, Dave Cofell will add to the festive atmosphere.
Sit down and enjoy some holiday music in the Delano Senior Center and take a rest from shopping.
Holiday Character Hunt
As part of the festivities, the children’s Holiday Character Hunt will start at 10:30 a.m.
Parents can bring their children to the information desk in city hall to pick up a card with the names of six characters.
Characters include: Guardians of the North Pole, Suzie Snowflake, Anna and Elsa, Olaf, and Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Pictures of the characters will be on display at the desk, and all six will be located within the downtown area.
When the cards are stamped by all the costumed characters, children return to city hall to enter a drawing for three prizes. Prizes are donated by Delano merchants and organizations.
All children stopping at the desk in city hall will receive a bagged treat.
The Senior Center Boutique will be open all day, featuring woodcrafts, knitted and crocheted goods, blankets, aprons, towels, pickled and canned goods, poppy kuchen, lefse, and more.
A wide selection of holiday decorations and accessories, plus jewelry is also available at the boutique.
Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC) Thrift and Gift Shop will offer sales and refreshments (and Santa) on Railroad Avenue.
At the Delano Community Education building, Early Childhood Family Education will have a boutique in the gym with a variety of vendors.
Other downtown shops will also be open for shopping.
The Secret Santa Shoppe at St. Peter’s Church has pre-wrapped gifts that children can buy at moderate prices. The Girl Scouts also have baked treats for sale for the adults to enjoy while their children are shopping.
International food flavors are back at Old-Fashioned Christmas. Tastes of traditional holiday treats from many countries will be for sale in a variety of businesses. Countries represented include Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, Jamaica, Poland, France, and the US.
The Marble Maze maker, Galen Hochstein will bring his games back to Old-Fashioned Christmas this year.
Visit the activity room at the Delano Senior Center to test your skill or compete with a friend.
Teddy Bear Tea
Again this year, the youngest attendees (with an adult) can bring their favorite teddy bear to the Delano Community Education building for a Teddy Bear tea and stories, hosted by Early Childhood Family Education.
The Old Fashioned Christmas Art Walk will be open all day for browsing and purchasing art. Seven artists will be located in three sites, with art including oil paintings, fabric art, acrylic paintings, jewelry, and free form vessels in burl wood.
Tamra Kowalski works in wool and has begun painting with alcohol inks on tiles. She likes to explore art in new forms and “when it doesn’t behave the way I expect it’s a new masterpiece in the making.”
Another artist working in wool is Michelle Jerde, owner of Metro Mitten Company. The company makes mittens, hats, scarves, dog/cat toys and dog coats out of recycled wool and fleece. The company donates 10 percent of its profits to animal shelters and rescues, locally and worldwide.
A founding member of the Artist Guild and long time member of the Delano Area Council for Arts and Culture, Jill Woodward, paints in oil. Her work is mainly of children and childhood scenes. She was one of the organizers of the Fourth of July sidewalk painting contest and did a 4-foot-by-4-foot square chalk painting on the street at that event.
Pat Thielman’s jewelry is of her own design and uses beads, precious metals and wire. She is a metalsmith and designs and makes her own beads in a variety of colors and sizes.
Tom Triplett is a “hobby” artist. He paints scenes in acrylics that evolve from photos he took in summer while mountain biking in the woods in Ontario.
Janet Klein’s jewelry may be familiar to those in Delano who visited the Saturday Community Market. She was a frequent exhibitor with her beautiful creations.
Gayle Kubista is a many-faceted artist. She paints landscapes in acrylics, makes free-form vessels in burl wood and also displays photographs and hand formed pots.
Not for sale, but on display at the Delano Public Library is art from the Delano High School art students. If you don’t view their work before the Library closes at 1 p.m., the art will be on display during the month of December.
Schedules, maps, and directions to all activities and events will be found at the information desk in city hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Across from the desk, the Big Woods Garden Club will distribute paperwhite bulbs. When placed in water, the bulbs will become a beautiful Christmas surprise.